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Should You Hire A California Public Defender in 2024?

Updated: Jan 2

Learn the benefits of working with your own California criminal defense attorney

best criminal defense attorneys in los angeles

If you have been charged with a crime in California, you have the right to be represented by an attorney. You may choose to work with a private California criminal defense attorney or a public defender. While both types of attorneys can provide legal representation, there are some differences to consider when deciding which option is best for you.


One advantage of working with a private California criminal defense attorney is that you may have more control over the attorney you work with. With a public defender, you will be assigned an attorney from a list of available attorneys.


With a private criminal defense attorney, you can research and choose an attorney who has experience in the specific area of law related to your case and who you feel comfortable working with.


Private criminal defense attorneys may also have more time to devote to your case, as they are not handling as many cases as public defenders. This can allow them to provide more personalized attention and give you the best possible defense.


Private California criminal defense attorneys also have more resources at their disposal to build a strong defense. This may include access to private investigators, experts, and other resources that can help to build your case.

That being said, it is important to keep in mind that hiring a private criminal defense attorney can be more expensive than working with a public defender. If you cannot afford to hire a private criminal defense attorney, you have the right to a public defender.


Ultimately, the decision of whether to work with a private criminal defense attorney or a public defender will depend on your individual circumstances and needs. It is always a good idea to research and consider your options before making a decision.


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California public defenders handle multiple clients at the same time, in the same day, in the same court.


It is difficult to provide an exact number of cases that a public defender in California handles, as the workload can vary depending on the specific office and the individual attorney. However, it is generally accepted that public defenders in California handle a large number of cases.


Public defenders are attorneys who are employed by the government to represent individuals who cannot afford to hire a private attorney. In California, public defenders are typically responsible for representing indigent defendants in criminal cases, including felony, misdemeanor, and juvenile cases.


The workload for public defenders in California is very heavy, as they are often responsible for representing a large number of clients.


According to the California Public Defenders Association, public defenders in the state handle an average of 400 to 500 cases per year. In some cases, public defenders may handle even more cases.

It is worth noting that the high workload for public defenders can impact the quality of representation that they are able to provide to their clients. Due to time constraints and the volume of cases they are handling, public defenders may not have as much time to devote to individual cases as private California criminal defense attorneys.


Frequent questions about criminal defense attorneys in California


Q. What is required to win a criminal charge in California?

A. To win a criminal charge in California, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime charged. This means that the prosecution must present evidence that leaves no doubt in the mind of the judge or jury that the defendant committed the crime. If the prosecution is unable to meet this standard, the defendant will be found not guilty.


Q. Can a California criminal defense attorney help me win my case?

A. Yes, a criminal defense attorney can help you win your case by building a strong defense on your behalf. This may involve gathering and presenting evidence to support your innocence, challenging the prosecution's evidence, and negotiating with the prosecution for a favorable plea deal. A pre-screened California criminal defense attorney will be familiar with the legal system and will know how to effectively advocate for your rights and interests.


Q. What are some common defenses to a criminal charge in California?

A. There are many potential defenses to a criminal charge in California, and the specific defense that is appropriate will depend on the facts of the case. Some common defenses include:

  • Insufficient evidence: The prosecution must present sufficient evidence to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution's evidence is weak or insufficient, the defense may argue that the prosecution has not met its burden of proof.

  • Mistaken identity: If the defendant can show that they were not the person who committed the crime, they may be able to argue that they are not guilty.

  • Self-defense: If the defendant can show that they acted in self-defense to protect themselves or another person from harm, they may be able to argue that their actions were justified and not criminal.

  • Duress: If the defendant can show that they committed the crime under threat or coercion, they may be able to argue that they were not acting of their own free will and are therefore not guilty.

Q. Can I win my case without going to trial?

A. Yes, it is possible to win a criminal case in California without going to trial. This can be done through a plea bargain, which is an agreement between the defendant and the prosecution in which the defendant pleads guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a more lenient sentence. Plea bargains can be an effective way to resolve a case without the need for a trial, and they are used in the majority of criminal cases in California.


Q. What should I do if I have been charged with a crime in California?

A. If you have been charged with a crime in California, it is important to take the charge seriously and seek legal representation as soon as possible. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you understand your rights and options and will work to protect your interests and fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Do not try to handle the case on your own, as the criminal justice system can be complex and confusing, and it is essential to have an advocate on your side.



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